It’s always fun to talk about books!
As I look back at the end of 2018, one thing I have enjoyed is looking back over the books I have read. Here are my ten favourite books from this year: five fiction and five non-fiction. The text below for each is the book blurb from Amazon. Where I have reviewed a book on the blog, I have linked the title to the post.
The Gardener’s Daughter by K A Hitchins
Motherless nineteen-year-old Ava has always believed brilliant botanist Theo Gage to be her father. But when a chance discovery reveals she is not his daughter, her world falls apart. Determined to discover her true identity, Ava impetuously runs away and enlists the help of inexperienced private detective, Zavier Marshall. Pursued by shadowy figures, she takes on a new name and follows in her dead mother’s footsteps to work at the mysterious Fun World Holiday Camp. Penniless and cut off from everything she’s ever known, and trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a ruthless criminal gang, will Ava survive in a world where she’s more valuable dead than alive? Will she discover the shocking truth behind her mother’s death? And will she find her real father before it s too late?
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor in rural Berkshire. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing a drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.
Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?
The Hiding Places by Katherine Webb
One hot summer in 1922.
A house at the heart of the village.
A crime that will shock the community.
A man accused and two women with everything to lose.
When Donny Cartwright is accused of murder, his sister Pudding is determined to discover the identity of the real killer.
Together with newcomer, Irene, she begins to uncover the truth – a secret that has been buried for years.
But when they happen upon a strange object, hidden in the past, they realise it will change everything . .
The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah
Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.
Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy…
Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?
Only Child by Rhiannon Navin
We all went to school that Tuesday like normal. Not all of us came home.
When the unthinkable happens, six-year-old Zach is at school. Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, he is too young to understand that life will never be the same again.
Afterwards, the once close-knit community is left reeling. Zach’s dad retreats. His mum sets out to seek revenge. Zach, scared, lost and confused, disappears into his super-secret hideout to try to make sense of things. Nothing feels right – until he listens to his heart . . .
But can he remind the grown-ups how to love again?
A Place To Land by Kate Motaung
A Place to Land is a globe-spanning memoir that wrestles with the question, “Where is my home?” Kate Motaung watched “home” slip away again and again—through her parents’ divorce, a foreclosure, two international moves, ten rental homes in ten years, and her mother’s terminal battle with cancer. Add in the challenge of a cross-cultural marriage, and Kate was constantly adapting to a new environment. Through her experiences, you’ll realize—as she did—that no matter where we go or what we do, this world is not our home.
A Boy In The Water by Tom Gregory
The poignant, life-affirming story of a determined boy, a visionary coach, and how the dream of a record-breaking Channel swim became reality
Eltham, South London. 1984: the hot fug of the swimming pool and the slow splashing of a boy learning to swim but not yet wanting to take his foot off the bottom. Fast-forward four years. Photographers and family wait on the shingle beach as a boy in a bright orange hat and grease-smeared goggles swims the last few metres from France to England. He has been in the water for twelve agonizing hours, encouraged at each stroke by his coach, John Bullet, who has become a second father.
This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a coach and a boy, and a love letter to the intensity and freedom of childhood.
It’s All Under Control by Jennifer Dukes Lee
It’s All Under Control is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right—yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic. Join Jennifer on the journey of learning how to:
- Overcome the anxieties and worries that burden your heart
- Prioritize your busy life so you can make choices that align with God’s best for you
- Find freedom through a new “Do, Delegate, or Dismiss” approach to your daily tasks
- Let go of what God has not asked you to do, so you can shine at what he has
Discover a new way of living that will free you to be you, and finally experience the peace of knowing a God who truly has it all under control.
Echoes Of Exodus by Alastair J. Roberts and Andrew Wilson
The exodus—the story of God leading his chosen people out of slavery in Egypt—stands as a pivotal event in the Old Testament. But if you listen closely, you will hear echoes of this story of redemption all throughout God’s Word.
Using music as a metaphor, the authors point us to the recurring theme of the exodus throughout the entire symphony of Scripture, shedding light on the Bible’s unified message of salvation and restoration that is at the heart of God’s plan for the world.
When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story
Worship leader and recording artist Laura Story’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Their lives would never be the same. Yes, with God all things are possible. But the devastating news was that no cure existed to restore Martin’s short-term memory, eyesight, and other complications. The fairy-tale life Laura had dreamed of was no longer possible. And yet in struggling with God about how to live with broken dreams, Laura has found joy and a deeper intimacy with Jesus.
Laura helps us understand we aren’t the only ones whose lives have taken unexpected turns. She examines the brokenness of some of the heroes of our faith, and shows how despite their flaws and flawed stories, God was able to use them in extraordinary ways. And it was not because of their faith, but because of the faithfulness of their God. God may not fix everything. In fact, although your situation might not ever change or get better, with Jesus you can.
What books have you enjoyed this year? Feel free to share in the comments.